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23 June 2009

Oye Cuba! A Journey Home Preview Reel

OK, slightly off topic. But, Arturo O'Farrill is one of my favorite band leaders. His music is great and full of meaning. Please watch this video.

14 June 2009

Review: The Yiddish Part

The Yiddish Part
Anakronic Electro Orkestra

I have been following Anakronic Electro Orkestra for about a year now, and have been anticipating the release of their first album, The Yiddish Part. Based in Toulouse, France, this quartet of Klezmer musicians has found a way to bring Klezmer music into the world of electro beats and samples. I have been impressed with many of the Klezmer bands in Europe today, and I think that AEO is among the best out there today. The arrangements are all by the band’s leader, Mikael Charry, who put together this jigsaw puzzle of sounds and created some great music.

The Yiddish Part is a short album, containing only five tracks, but it is clear that they have focused a lot of energy on this project and I hope that there will be more tracks ready for release soon.

opens the album with a high-energy rhythmic melody by the Clarinet, accompanied by driving percussion, Accordion, and cool electronic sounds. After a Drum break, it switches to more of a reggae beat with the Keyboard taking over the melody.

Terk In America
is full of percussion and electronics, backing up the familiar melody in the Clarinet. I have to give AEO kudos for this arrangement. I like the very traditional Klezmer Clarinet sound mixed with the fast-paced electronics, steady drums, and smooth Accordion pads. I have not heard the song done this way before, and I’m sure they will be recognized for it.

Why Is It Funny? Is my favorite track on the album. I think it showcases the essence of what AEO is all about. The Clarinet melody is traditional Klezmer, but the electronic sounds are innovative, and the drums are more of a hard-hitting rock style. A horn section of Trumpet, Trombone, and Sax make a guest appearance as well. I must point out the Accordion work here, also of a traditional nature, is prominently featured along with the Clarinet. I keep coming back to this song and am excited when it pops up on my playlist.

Speak With Ghosts mixes sampled vocals with the music. It moves to a short interlude with the Clarinet in the low register, then suddenly changes to a fast tempo with the Clarinet taking off with the Accordion over the pulsing electronics and Percussion. There is a cool Clarinet/Accordion vibe here that blends well with the rest of the band’s sounds.

Free Klarinet Screamin’ In My Head is AEO’s take on a Doina. This is a Clarinet feature that makes liberal use of sampling and overdubs to make the instrument sound like one of the electronic machine sounds. It’s definitely not a tune that you can sing along with, but it shows what the band can do when they twist the music around in a way that pushes the envelope just a bit as they blur the line between acoustic and electronic. The Clarinet is no longer just an instrument, but a new bank of sound samples that the band has to work with. It took a while for me to catch on to this, but now I get it.

The audio quality is quite good. The electronic machines are not overpowering, and the Drums on Zibn are clean, with good detail on the Cymbals. The Clarinet and Accordion blend well together. The album sounded full and lively on my home theater system and on my car system, but lost some of the punch on my laptop computer’s speakers. Kudos to engineers Manu Cabrol, Ludovic T. Kierasinski, Lionel Nicod, and Benjamin Joubert.

The CD package I received was a sleeve with the wonderful artwork and logo on the front and the track list/credits on the back.

Anakronic Electro Orkestra are well on their way to earning wider recognition for their unique style and recognizable sound. They’ve made a great start and I wish them much success. Give their music a listen and see for yourself.

Keith Wolzinger
Klezmer Podcast

The Yiddish Part
Anakronic Electro Orkestra

Band Members:
Mikael Charry / Machines
Ludovic T. Kierasinski / Basse
Corinne Dubarry / Accordeon
Pierre Bertaud du Chazaud / Clarinette

Track List:
1. Zibn 4:02
2. Terk In America 3:57
3. Why Is It Funny? 4:05
4. Speak With Ghosts 4:37
5. Free Klarinet Screamin' My Head 2:36

Anakronic Electro Orkestra